Green buildings reduce consumption of energy and water, cut harmful CO2 emissions. Further, they provide a better living environment as they keep the ecological balance in urban zones and reduce operation and maintenance costs.
- Buildings consume 40% of the produced electrical power. Regionally, Gulf Cooperation Council countries have the highest consumption rate of electrical power per capita in the world.
- Globally, buildings emit 11% of CO2 emissions. Regionally, Gulf Cooperation Council countries have has the highest CO2 emission rate per capita worldwide.
- Buildings consume 12% of total sweet water production. Locally, Qatar is considered one of the five poorest countries in the world regarding ground sweet water resources. It wholly and fully depends, by 100%, on desalinated water which is processed by using hydro-carbon fuel.
There will be many benefits. As an example, studies indicate the possibility of saving 40% of electrical power consumption, 30% of sweet water consumption and 50-70% of overall domestic refuse through recycling.
In Copenhagen in 2009, UNEP SBCI program offered its recommendations binding developing countries to produce a national program that documents efforts exerted by these nations to cut C02 emissions and reduce energy consumption. Developed countries should make their expertise and support available for developing countries, especially in developing tools and standards that can be used to achieve the above objectives. Sustainability Assessment Systems, which were developed in many developing countries, are the most effective tools that help monitor updates and changes on harmful carbon emissions and reduce energy consumption.
A Green Building Sustainability Assessment System is a set of practical benchmarking tools that are used as standards for designing, constructing and operating buildings in order to achieve ecological and sustainability benefits. There are 10’s of sustainability assessment systems all over the world, developed by advanced countries. Sustainability assessment systems were developed via either governmental bodies (such as in Japan) or via non-governmental bodies (such as in USA). Such development has been achieved in co-ordination with specialized research centers and centers of expertise.
GSAS is an integrated sustainability assessment for green buildings, like other mature international rating systems. It includes
- (1) design guidelines,
- (2) high performance benchmarking tools, and
- (3) automated governance system based on objective standards in line with the latest global specifications.
Accordingly, GSAS is the only integrated sustainability assessment system that has been developed in the Middle East. It is regionally well-positioned to drive green building concepts and practice.
Developing GSAS took almost 3 years. It was developed via three main methods:
- Specialized technical teams that included leading experts and specialists from the top industry global research institutes.
- A consulting board including leading experts in global sustainability assessment from eight developed countries to provide guidance and supervise the technical teams throughout the development process.
- Support teams from Gulf Organization for Research & Development and other governmental bodies to provide support in issues related to local environment inputs.
- To safeguard the urban identity of the region; as, without exception, all imported sustainability assessment systems do not encourage or consider this aspect in assessing buildings. This is the opposite of the GSAS approach which by contrast puts high emphasis on this aspect.
- To achieve harmony with local environment, climate and geological conditions; as, without exception, all imported sustainability assessment systems were developed regardless of these inputs, GSAS by contrast takes these conditions into consideration.
- To apply objective standards as far as possible and be in line with the new approach of sustainability systems design. Such aspect is missing in most older global sustainability systems.
- To achieve the necessary flexibility and control to amend the system components without referring back to foreign entities and to keep the system up to date in compliance with the rapidly changing legislative, legal and environmental inputs of the region. In addition, being independent gives GSAS the opportunity to optimize the best experiences and outcomes of any assessment system without being constrained by a pre-determined system.
- To facilitate easy adaptation and modification of the system by other neighboring GCC countries to best fit their local conditions by implementing only minor changes owing to similarity of climate, geography and culture.
GSAS will be updated regularly in view of global variables in green building developments and to provide relevant support to governmental bodies, engineering consultancy companies, private sector and individual investors desirous to apply new concepts and effective principles to do with green buildings. Further, GORD Institute aims to develop new knowledge relating to green buildings. In addition, GSAS uses automated online systems to update its administrative and technical processes promptly and efficiently.
- The environmental dimension is one of the main pillars of Qatar Vision 2030. At the same time, this dimension is the main driver behind developing GSAS.
- Towards a diversified economy, the new-knowledge dimension of GSAS is a significant benefit in line with Qatar Vision 2030. With GSAS, GORD is creating and developing new domestic knowledge in the green buildings industries by qualifying Qatari and expatriate cadres working in GORD and interacting with global centers of expertise.
- GSAS also plays a significant economic and technical role towards Qatar Vision 2030. Application of GSAS will open new industrial and economic opportunities in local and regional market to do with green buildings, such as renewable energy, recycling and manufacturing of waste, developing alternative materials, and applying advanced technologies in automated and animated control. All these aspects will accelerate the country’s long strides towards a knowledge-based economy.